5a- Why are you doing transcriptions of the posts?/Why do you often ask for transcriptions?
We're at over 1.2 million followers and I've been asked if it might be possible to level up our disability access so more people can enjoy. Many macros and memes are pictures of text or text ON pictures. (Things like screen grabs of Tumblr or Twitter, but even just macros.) This means they can't be read and transcribed with text reading software for folks who are visually impaired.
Personally I am not going to have time to transcribe some of the longer macros or complicated visual images into text and/or I am often posting from my phone or posting from work where transcribing would be very impractical. So if I put "Transcribe?" (or some variation) with an image, it means that if anyone would be willing to do that, I'll cut and paste that text along with my sincere thanks and a shout out and add it to the text.
PLEASE CHECK THE COMMENTS OF SUCH POSTS FOR THE TRANSCRIPTIONS-- Eventually I get back to most of them and copy paste the transcription into the OP, but they may sit for hours before I have a chance to.
You can also send it to me through PM if you'd prefer no attribution and the transcription to be anonymous. I'll probably just use the first transcription I see that does a halfway decent description of the picture and text, so no need to keep going if you see someone else has. I'm not trying to slight anyone if I don't use theirs.
Feel free to use Google transcriber for the pure text macros (I sometimes do), but if I'm asking for a transcription, I probably am not at a proper computer where I would be able to do that myself.
5b- You could have just written the transcription in the time it took you to ask for one.
Chances are I'm on my phone or busy at work This may mean a couple of things:
1- I'm unable to see the image and what I'm typing on a single screen and going back and forth to make sure that it's perfect would take more time/energy than I have.
2- The transcription involves describing an image (not just rewriting the text) and that is what I don't have time to do.
Also don't be such a Judgy McJudgikins. I'm a fucking professional writer. Give me some credit. I know damn well what I can handle with speech to text at a stop light and what is too much.
5c- Why do you tell us what you're doing that you can't transcribe. Just ask for a transcription.
At first I did ask for a transcription. Then people got mad about that because (I guess because they thought I was being lazy?) and just asking was too brusque. Then I wrote an extensive explanation, and people either said I could have transcribed it in the time I took to write the explanation (see above) or they just thought I was being too descriptive. So then I offered these weird fake explanations about fighting terrorists or parasailing to Mars or something, and people complained about THAT even though it amused me. Most of the time these complaints were mostly polite, but their frequency and the rare aggression and threats to flounce (which is a one-strike-you're out no-no here and led to tons of drama) made me just want to abandon transcriptions altogether. So today I ask and offer a quick line or two for why I can't, and even though definitely not everyone is happy, I think I've found this tiny fjord of frequency and caliber of request that makes the fewest people complain. Basically someone always complained, this seems to be the thing that makes them do so the least, so I'm sticking to it.
5d- Why didn't you transcribe that post or ask for a transcription?/Why don't you transcribe all posts?
There are a few reasons.
1- If I'm sharing something from another page, I won't transcribe their meme. Folks can take it up with THAT page's admin if they want to. I'm usually just quickly sharing something I got a tickle out of. It also has to do with which text proliferates in the event of a "share." If that meme gets shared by lots of people, it will be the original post, not my transcription, that gets shared with it. It's not a pride thing, there's just a lot of work that is involved and it would have limited returns. Often with such posts I will ask if anyone wants to do it in the comments.
2- There are occasionally subject dense pictures (like a mural comic) that can't reasonably be transcribed. If we had UBI and I could find someone to transcribe images, I'd be happy to, but I am pinioned by a capitalist society in which I neither have time to myself or the resources to hire someone to do so. I am also reticent to ask for members of the community to spend what would probably be hours transcribing a single post. This is not a "fuck you" to the visually impaired community, it is simply a recognition that visual art sometimes is more involved than my ability to transcribe. My saying anything even remotely like this on the post itself creates no end of shitty replies in the comments, so I will just post the image to avoid the drama. Of course if anyone wants to try to transcribe the dozens of discrete images, they are welcome/encouraged to—maybe it'll be thought of as good practice.
6- Is the free labor of people doing your transcriptions exploitative?
1) Facebook pages don't actually make money. And the FB throttling algorithm was designed by greedy shitgibbons who literally fiddled with the knobs until they found the sweet spot between "That's a lovely outreach you have there. Be shame if someone.......THROTTLED IT." and "Fuck it. I'll just use Tumblr instead!" While I technically might make some Patron money via people from this page, most of them are donating money because they like my blog and my writing, not because I maintain a page that posts memes. (In fact, I often literally say when I post my Patreon something like: "If you're just here for the memes, don't worry about this, but if you like the blog I link to.....") While there is a symbiotic relationship and this page helps me promote my work, there isn't really a mechanic by which this page ITSELF makes me any money.
2) The particulars of transcribed posts are done for the accessibility benefits of folks who use assistive technology. For years there were no such transcriptions. I have been asked to do this, and I WANT to do so, but doing it all myself would be a tremendous addition of labor to what is already several hours a week on top of one job and a hundred side hustles I already have. I tried to come up with a compromise to saying "No. I'm sorry. I just can't do that."
3) I'm more than capable of transcribing posts, and often do so. However when I am flinging up a post quickly on my way to work or posting from my phone, I can't describe some involved four panel comic or essentially type out 250 words. I could just leave it without a transcription–possibly for hours–until I can get to it, but that seems to defeat the purpose, and the alternative is blowing some off.....and not in the fun way.
4) I'm not promising people exposure or ground floor opportunities or some slick ass bullshit to folks who help out. (I'm certainly not approaching professional transcribers and guilting them to think about the children.) If folks help, I assume it is because they want our page to be accessible, not because they think it will benefit them in some way. Everyone is free to help or not help. Sometimes no one steps up and the post just goes un-transcribed until I can get to it. It's not like anyone is being leaned on.
5) If I were making more money, I probably WOULD think about employees rather than volunteers. I pay my guest bloggers, editors, and others who help me unless they insist that their work is a donation, even if it's just a few dollars. However, I am down by half my income since cancer and THEN it was barely paying the bills. Perhaps the fact that I need another other jobs besides writing and innumerable side gigs will be indicative that I'm maybe not making as much off this page as people seem to think.
Can I send you a meme to repost? When will you post my meme? Why didn't you post my meme?
In general, I love getting memes from y'all. I try to post several a day, and that means going hunting constantly. A meme from one of you that I can post usually represents an hour that I can just post something on the go from my phone and not be "on" all the time. Then I can go back to playing Horizon Zero Dawn without even pausing. But sometimes folks send me a meme and then ask me to post it right away or even get a little cranky if I don't. ("Hey man. I sent that meme to you out of the goodness of my heart. Are you going to post it, or what?")
There are a few reasons why maybe I didn't post your meme….
1- Check to see if I really didn't post it.
Facebook has a very complicated algorithm that throttles the content that it shows you. It is threading the needle between so low that pages, desperate to be seen, will pay advertising money to get more engagement and JUUUUUUUST high enough that we don't give up on FB forever and take our content over to Tumblr. (And I'm sure that a small army of behavioral scientists are working every day and snorting lines of spice to find just EXACTLY that sweet spot for maximum profitability.) Even if you are engaging with every Writing About Writing post, you might only see half the memes I post if you don't click through the page, so please check. It's entirely possible that I actually DID post the meme, but Facebook just didn't put it on your feed.
2- You sent me something that I posted somewhat recently.
The world of writing (and writing-adjacent) memes is prolific, but not endless. I see a lot of repeats. Especially a year later when a viral post starts coming up in people's memories. Now, I'm definitely not above a repost—especially if it's been a while—but it might just be that you sent me something I posted only a few weeks ago.
I don't keep track of a specific expiration date or shelf life. If I see a meme I've seen before, I just kind of try to think if it's been recently or a while since I posted it. Very scientific. Much rigor. Wow.
3- I might like the meme, but it's possible it's not for this page.
I'm picky about my memes.
I harvest only the finest artisanal memes from the Memeagne region of France, and perish the thought of subpar memes darkening my pixel stream.
I don't do the entire genre of memes that makes fun of people for not knowing "proper" English (which is just code for a classist, often racist, and slightly anachronistic elitism about a form of English that is taught in high schools without regard for nuance like linguistics or dialects). I know a lot of writing meme pages get off on that shit, like it actually makes them a better person to know when to use "less" vs. "fewer," but that isn't my jam. Funny signs because of a misspelled word? Sure. Making fun of PEOPLE? Pass.
If there's a deliberate slur, I probably take a pass. People who are marginalized in our society can reclaim certain words in tweets or memes, and I think that's rad, but they're not my words to use and even hitting "share" can be fraught with some complication.
3.5-There might be casual -isms or -phobias.
Look, I can't make a MILLION people agree with my linguistic understanding that our language both reflects and normalizes deep seated prejudices and institutional oppression, but words like "crazy" or "stupid" or other casually harmful words will generally steer me away from even a pretty dang funny meme. I'm not perfect, and some stuff gets past me—especially when I maybe don't think about how a particular kind of sarcasm is going to land—but I'm definitely not trying to create that kind of environment. Sometimes an otherwise awesome post has an ableist slur in it, and I take a pass.
I've tried putting these things up with content notifications so that folks will consider that maybe that wasn't the best choice of words, but then the comments just turn into a cesspool of "I don't see anything wrong with it! You're too sensitive!" And you know if legions of white dudes can't see what the problem is, there certainly couldn't possibly be one….because if anyone knows what marginalization is, it's those who never have to deal with it!
So…anyway, now I don't bother.
4- Someone I like just posted it.
There are a few meme pages out there doing essentially the same thing I am with basically the same philosophy about social justice and social harm, and I don't want to compete with them. These are great people and I hope we all succeed. If a page like Tara Wine Queen Writes or Tales of a Kitchen Witch have just posted something, I want them to get the clicks and engagement for at LEAST a few days before I come along with my bigger platform and steal their thunder.
5- Someone I DON'T like is responsible for it.
Sometimes shitty people say funny or poignant things. I'm not here to amplify them or their platforms.
Sometimes I actually know the source does not like to be scraped because they have announced as much publically. Sometimes my platform size means something I post will get back to the source, and they slide into my DMs. Some people thank me. Some ask me for credit (which I am thrilled to be able to give), some ask me only to share their stuff—not repost it (which again, I'm happy to do), and some ask me to die in a fire and never post their stuff again.
I tend to remember those people.
6- It's in the queue.
The search for memes is a feast and famine game. Some days I'm scouring the internet in real time for the next post. Some days I seriously have days and days worth of memes saved up on my phone or laptop and I've got them in sort of a mental queue. There's an art to shitposting. You want the sweet and then the salty. If I drop ten of the same flavor of meme, it'll get old pretty fast. So it could be that I have every intention of getting to your meme in the next few days. So, with all the love in the world….keep your pants on.
Big enough news that I'm going to shake up the usual Patreon rewards. THIS will be my April newsletter, which usually only goes out to my Patrons. However, this month I'm going to be publishing it on the blog to share the big news. All my other rewards will "red shift." The folks who usually get just the newsletters will be seeing some selfies. The folks who are up for early access will get to see The Inside Scoop (a sort of deeper and more personal newsletter).
April waved as it drove by. I'm not even exactly sure what the hell happened. One minute I was sitting down hoping that I didn't get any unkind pranks and the next, people were wishing me a happy Beltane. It was an entire month of "blink and you'll miss it."
If you've been following my story, you know that one of my partners, Rhapsody, lost their boss and friend in a violent robbery in early February. She stepped up to run the bakery with the owner gone. That's it's ENTIRE own harrowing story of overwork, stress, and difficulty, but what it meant was that I stepped up in a lot of ways too—with everything from extra childcare to grief support. Three months passed with a strange effect of being both ten years and about a week.
And that was just the latest absolute shocking tragedy in a string of huge setbacks and life events.
It's been months now—years really—of just one thing after another. A big move complete with massive emotional adjustments on the part of four people—two of them kids, a miscarriage, cancer, surgery and recovery (including PTSD), a huge health scare from my mother, a very impactful breakup and then this. And if I'm going to be perfectly honest, there have been some good moments in there that ALSO distracted me from my writing. I let myself get caught up in some new relationship energy when I met Rhapsody, and I kind of avoided work for a couple of months. And every time I've felt a LITTLE better these past couple of years, I've first tried to reconnect with my personal relationships instead of diving fully into the grind. There have been ups and downs, but it wouldn't be fair to say that my productivity has always been low because of the bad stuff.
Still, almost every time I'm feeling ready to get back into the saddle, another round of something awful hits—and it's usually something next level. It's not like a bad day on Facebook kind of stuff. Sometimes I feel ready to write and the schedule goes bananas. Sometimes the schedule is forgiving, but I'm struggling with anxiety and barely able to keep my mind on one thing long enough to write a post a week. It's been unrelenting.
But there is news. Great news. (No, I don't want to jinx it. I'll just call it BIG news, and we will look nervously at the sky and refuse to get excited.) A great shift is coming to my writing time. I will have SO much more of it.
Since early February, I've stepped up to help. I held space, cancelled plans when shit fell apart (some of which were writing plans), took on more with the kids, and generally threw most of my time into trying to get through the moment. I don't want that to sound like a victim narrative. I chose to be there for my partner. I chose to step back from my writing career for a little longer, even though I had lost so much time from the cancer and all the trials and tribulations before.
But bakery was hurting her—killing her really, in a non-hyperbolic sense. Our culture has a socially acceptable form of self harm in work and productivity. We let our mental health suffer for "the hustle." And the situation was untenable and unsustanable. So Rhapsody made a decision to step away at least for a while, take some well needed time "off," and then decide if she came back what her role would be. (That's "off" as in full time parent of two kids and a custody schedule that really only gives her one full day off every two weeks.) She is going to be home for at least a couple of months, able to handle so much more of the kid time and not be on the knife's edge of debilitating anxiety, dealing with daily panic attacks, and needing serious drugs just to function.
The shift should seem almost instantaneous given how much time I suddenly have to write. And there are other plans and schemes afoot (although to get in on those early, you really WILL need to become a patron), but this feels like the best (nope, not gonna jinx it) biggest news that's come to my writing schedule in two years.
And for those of you who didn't know what my writing output was like before two years ago…
I've been updating this for the past week or so and posting parts of it piecemeal, but here is the whole thing. Support Writing about Writing (even if you don't have money)? Our mission statement (yes, we have one)? Disclaimers? Update schedule? The comment policy? It's all here.
First and foremost: All written content on posts on this blog are copyrighted. If you would like to use any of my material, please quote a paragraph or two and link back to the URL, or contact me if you want to use a more extensive quote or cross post something (I'll probably say yes if it's not a brand new post). I consider any more than this a breach of copyright law.
Pay the Writer- Do you want to get some money to the writer? My income is entirely donation based, so it's the only way I keep writing.
Mission Statement- Why is Writing About Writing even here? What am I hoping to accomplish. And why am I so generous about giving all this free advice?
Disclaimery Stuff- Am I using an image that belongs to you? Did you find a grammar mistake? Do you hate my computer-illiterate layout and formatting errors?
Update Schedule- How often can you expect an update? What gets posted on which days? Why was there no Wednesday post and just Chris doing Jazz fingers?
Comment Policy- Please check ahead of time what the policy is on comments--both why I may simply delete them and why I may put feature them in a future article. And why mean abusive anonymous comments get mocked more than mean signed ones.
Advertise on WAW- Technically speaking, I don't do advertisement, and it's going to take a pretty sweet deal to get me to try. I turned ads off as soon as my crowdfunding income could cover the bills (sort of––I still have a nanny side gig too). The sorts of ads Blogger and Google would stick on my page made me feel a little dirty. To date, I've only gotten spam offers, but if you actually have a product that I actually might be willing to endorse and a generous enough offer to make it worth my while, I will "sell out" a little.
There are three links in this post. One is if you want to blog for me. The other is if you want me to blog (or write) for you. Plus one for if you want me to do podcasts/panels/classes/lectures/interviews/etc…
I'm always looking for someone to give me a day off from this accursed job. (Even though the time "off" usually doesn't start until/unless someone has been blogging for me for a while.) Be sure to read the post about guest blogging thoroughly. I don't make enough to pay my guest bloggers more than a few dollars before I see how their article is going to do, but if it does well, I won't keep the fruits of your labor either.
The Mission of this Blog is to provide a place that will facilitate my ability to:
1-Be able to say, “I was just writing about that in my blog” in that really pretentious way that only bloggers can do. Preferably while holding a snifter of brandy and looking at someone through a monocle.
2-Satisfy my writerly exhibitionist need for feedback without the constant irritation of things like letters of rejection.
3-Be able to say, “I’m published” at cocktail parties as long as they don’t press too hard on how exactly I’m using the word “published.”
4-Be passive aggressive towards people who have slighted me in an internationally accessible medium. Also preferably while holding a brandy.
5- Have fans hanging off of me no matter where I go. Bloggers are the new rockstars. That's what the dude at the Moleskine Journal Store assured me.
But I found this to be just a little bit too honest for most, so I’ll go with my second round of reasons. So here is the new and improved mission statement.
The mission of this Blog is to provide a place where I can (each is its own link):
I'll try to hit the nuance when there is some. (Like the tension between the ableism of prescribing writing daily but the unlikelihood that one could be a working writer without doing exactly that.) But sometimes I'm answering the question that is right in front of me and not accounting for every person's very special (if absolutely legitimate) circumstances. Sometimes people––who maybe had a very legitimate and traumatic high school experience in a cookie cutter public education system in need of systematic and systemic indictment, and maybe even had a shitty teacher or eight––are not the people with the expertise to know HOW to teach or why literature pedagogy is what it is. And for fuck's sake almost everyone ever who insists that writing every day doesn't help have never actually tried it.
I'm THRILLED that there are a few MFA programs out there who've incorporated speculative fiction or that someone published their NaNo novel, and don't be afraid to chime in. But please remember that I've been doing this for DECADES, it is my DAY JOB, half my friends are working writers, and the presence of a few outlier cases does not undermine the broader points.
I'm not saying you're wrong, but I usually know what I'm talking about.
2- I'm not very careful about images.
It's hard to watch every other blog in the universe be cavalier about movie screenshots and copyrighted images (sometimes even going viral with movie gifs) and then use a picture of an old flip flop for your great Avengers quote because that's what Googled turned up as creative commons.
I've got a few places I check first, like the Creative Common Licence Flikr page or the "free to use (even commercially)" image search on Google. Some images seem to be allowed to be proliferated if properly cited on a non-profit blog. But I'm not as careful as I would be if I were hosting ads and making millions. Unless they are a picture OF me (or something around me), they are absolutely not mine, and I will never ever claim that they are. I put copyright info when I post commercial images and/or any time I can tell where they're from. I try my best, but the internet is a tangled thicket and not every image is watermarked (WHICH I WILL NEVER USE) and things are stolen and restolen so many times that it is sometimes impossible to know where they're from.
So if I'm using an image that is yours (or your client's), please just tell me how you'd like me to handle it. (I'll take it down. Give you credit. Make it a link back to your page. Apologize for my impudence. Write a post about how awesome you are for not making a federal case of it. Whatever*.)
Just don't expect me to fall for the licencing scam. This is not my first rodeo. I've got too many blogger friends at this point; I know that it's JUST a scam wearing a suit. (Amazing what you can find out with a quick search of the BBB.) You go ahead and take me to court and have fun trying to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a judge how much of my poverty-wage crowdfunded income from writing is due to your ONE image on the ONE post rather than my writing (or conversely that where I got your image from was clearly labeled as requiring a licence fee). I'm absolutely sure that will be worth it for you. Oh and by the way I'll be invoicing every hour I spend dealing with you at my top tier freelance rate for a counter-suit. Won't this be fun!
I really do try to avoid any image with a big flaming "Don't use my shit without permission" sign on the web page or a clear copyright watermark, or from companies I know don't give a crap if you give them proper credit, but sometimes I end up with such image through an intermediary with less regard. If I've used a image that I didn't know was stolen, I will do what it takes to make amends. And I will never pass off work that isn't mine as my own.
3-There will (probably) never be ads, but I might remind you of the tip jar and my Patreon once or twice a month-ish. Writing About Writing is and will always be free. And these days we don't even have any ads. (Although technically I might put one up for a product I actually endorse.) But I'm a pretentious artisté and I dream of writing paying for a small space to call my own. Twice every month-ish (once as a blog post and once as a post directly to social media), I'll write a post reminding people that if they want to support us, or if they want to get more and better content, we need to cover the bills without a 20-30 hour-a-week side gig. Through the generosity of readers, I've been able to quit teaching, stop driving all over the Bay Area to pet sit, and have some boundaries about how much I will nanny small children, but I'm still beholden to more hours of side giggery that could be spent making with the clackity clack. And beyond that, I would love to make improvements like professional design and admin help. As little as a single dollar a month (just $12 a year) through Patreon helps me to write more and gets you in on some private conversations about future projects.
4-In this blog, I mostly talk about creative writing, specifically fiction.
While the concerns of other genres of creative writing dovetail with fiction somewhat, and all writing in general has a few things in common (like words and periods and stuff), they are also quite different in form, content, style, and execution. Fiction is not journalism, and neither of those is technical writing. So if you are making a pretty goddamned decent living gritting your teeth through the boredom while writing instruction manuals for digital cameras and food processors, and wonder what the hell I'm on about when I talk about the high passion and low pay of a writing career, it's not because I think you're not a "real" writer. (You absolutely are!) It's just because "Blogging about Fiction Writing" isn't as catchy of a title.
5-I am not very good at computer stuff.
Actually, that's like saying I kind of like pizza a little. I may have links that go nowhere or images that don't load. I can usually fix that stuff if you bring it to my attention. There are sometimes some weird formatting errors where it looks like some of the text is the wrong font or font size, and I can't seem to fix it, no matter what I do. I suppose there are people who know enough HTML that it would be no trouble for them, but I am not one of those people.
Some day when I'm making enough that I'm not side gigging to afford brand name peanut butter, I'm going to hire someone to clean things up.
6-There might be some satire in here somewhere. Maybe.
You should probably take a satire class if you don't know how to recognize it when you see it. The Onion offers some online correspondence courses that are top notch. I highly recommend them.
When I'm doing super awesome, I have a couple of articles in the hopper for days where I can't really get in front of the computer for hours. (Just so we're clear, of the crystalline variety, the last time that happened was 2013.) The pandemic has me further behind than normal, and a series of unfortunate events has befallen me in the last 18 months or so, so I'm hanging on by a thread most weeks. Some days there is an emergency or I get sick or I'm just getting my ass kicked by my childcare hours. It's just me here and I still need a second job to pay all the bills. I'm doing the best I can.
8- The Unforgiving Reality of "Making It" as a Writer
I write to a broad audience. Certain advice here at Writing About Writing (such as writing every day) is a panacea to all of the most common difficulties for which people often request advice. While questions about how to monetize a blog or publish a short story might have specific answers, general questions like how to "make it" or how to "improve" [which I get multiple times a day] all have the same basic answer. In fact, this question has the same basic answer in any of the arts (or any entertainment): practice. Musicians, sculptors, painters, actors, and writers––they all practice…often for years before they go public. And while gains can be made in any discipline with periodic or even sporadic practice, professional artists almost unswerving try to practice daily (or very nearly so).
While I make every effort to acknowledge the ableism of prescribing daily writing without caveat, the grind of capitalism to make finding time to work on one's art difficult or impossible, or the absurdity of arbitrating the title of "real writer" on anyone, I cannot alter the fundamental realities of how demanding the journey will be to get better at art. Certainly not if the goal is to quit one's day job and survive capitalism by doing art, and absolutely not if one's goal is to be well beloved by, in the case of writing, the reading community. No one in any career––athlete, surgeon, chef, actor, or writer––will achieve the status of renowned in their field without a lot of long hours and probably more than a few weekends. Many household name writers write every day (or six days a week). [Just as many musicians practice every day and many painters sketch constantly.] Call it harsh advice or a hard pill to swallow or just a reality check. I can acknowledge that the obstacles, but I can't change the world in which those are the people who have what many would-be writers want.
Please don't assume that I think everyone should or even CAN give this much dedication to their writing. I just don't know of any shortcuts to the things so often cited as goals. (Comfortable careers as working writers or legions of fans.) Also, most writers absolutely need to hear (over and over and over again) that their main problem is that they're NOT applying their asses to a chair and they further need the splash of cold water that they're not going to achieve those career-caliber dreams if they're putting in weekend warrior effort.
9- Comments are moderated.
This is not the wild west. You are not entitled to say anything you want. Check my comment policy for more info. Even though that's technically for Facebook, it should give you an idea of how to comport yourself here.
I mentioned this in my last post before I went a bit silent, but the co-worker and good friend of Rhapsody sustained fatal injuries in a robbery. She died on Feb 9th.
Rhapsody has returned to the bakery that Jen owned with the intention of carrying on the business with all the employees. She has been stepping up to much greater responsibilities, trying to piece together all the lessons of running a bakery that she hadn't yet been taught, and processing the barely-fathomable grief of the sudden and violent loss of of a very close friend at the same time.
I live with Rhapsody and her two boys. I knew Jen, but not the way Rhapsody did, and mine has been a support role. I've been watching the kids a LOT more, taking on some extra chores, trying to organize help offers, and just being available and holding space.
My writing has felt the impact of this month.
I have a few half done articles, (including one about Jen and Angel Cakes and some terrible behavior on the part of some very scared people that should be showing up this week). I do take my own advice about writing daily through adversity. But clearly I had to put life on pause, and I could not focus—nevermind focus for several hours a day.
While grief is a fickle monster, and I can't predict a smooth transition, Rhapsody has returned to work and the boys are back in school (after being sick for a while). I've had a few moments here and there to tuck myself away and smith a few words. It will probably be a reduced schedule at first and then ramp up. I would also expect some hiccups along the way.
I wanted to make sure I have an update for everyone as we head into March. I know it's been quiet. This story was national news, but it touched me in a very personal way.
The boss and good friend of my nesting partner—who I call "Rhapsody" here in the blog—was the victim of a violent robbery, is in critical condition, on life support, and not expected to recover. Rhapsody is dealing with anger, grief, overwhelm, on top of uncertainty about the future of her job and the state of our household expenses, and I am in full support mode.
The blog may need a couple of days before it's back up and running.
For those interested in helping: of course all the usual ways are still wonderful, but also right now, it would be great if we could fund this Gofundme. The allotment of financial support will help Jen's partner and mom deal with expenses but will also help the business stay open and keep the employes of the bakery employed.
My "can't even" about the comments on my Facebook page went from figurative to literal.
At over a 1.2 million followers, gentle reminders have stopped working, admin-ing comments has become virtually impossible, delicately explaining is a waste of my time, and my patience for unacceptable behavior is exhausted. Too many people ordering a double helping of savage without even a side order of chill. The laws of large numbers are starting to ensure that even if thousands upon thousands of people understand the spirit in which something is presented, someone will be having a bad day or not read carefully or think they understand a phrase that they don't, or read in maximally bad faith....or even just be a troll in my dungeon.
Thus, the time has come for an official commenting policy so that folks won't be making their best I-just-ripped-this-guy's-helmet-off-and-it-turned-out-to-be-Robert-The-Bruce-Mel-Gibson-as-William-Wallace-during-the-battle-of-Falkirk betrayed faces when I ban their asses.
Here's the TL;DR part for those of you who don't want to have to read very much:
This isn't 4chan. You don't get to say whatever you want because of "free speech." It's my space. Think of it more like you are in my house and I am putting on a show for you. If you are abusive or contemptuous, comport yourself in such a way that any human being with feelings whose hospitality you were under wouldn't invite you to come back, if you use bigoted slurs, if you are dismissive or derisive about posts that would be commonly labeled as "social justice," promise to (or threaten to) flounce from the page, "dare" me to ban you, or post spam links to either your own writing or a commercial site, or do slimy hitting on people in the comments, you may be banned without warning.
Now here's the nuance if you want to understand it a little better: Itty bitty point- If risqué language will make you blush, buckle up or do a tuck and roll dive out the passenger side. This shit's not going to fucking stop and I'll fucking ignore the fucking comments and PM's demanding it fucking does. Golly. Itty bitty teeny tiny point - If you block an admin, you're out. If you make some nasty comment on your way out, I will cheerfully delete it. Discuss it like an adult, or leave like an adult. Your tantrum gets you nothing.
Smol point- If you slam the door on your way out, it'll lock behind you. And if you dare me to kick you out, I always, always ALWAYS will. If you're joking around ("Blokt!"), please make sure I know it.
I care about you and I care about you achieving your goals. What am I if not a supportive, but occasionally firm cheerleader? If you flounce, I'll help you stick to it because I know that's what you would want. If you tell me you're going to flounce, but don't seem to be able to find the door, I'll make sure you know right where it is. If you threaten to flounce in a spectacle, I'll make the decision much, much easier for you. I'm here for you, pal. Plus that's just rude.
Tiny point- No, I'm not going to stop posting links to my blog. Ever. At least once a day (sometimes two or three, just to annoy the haters). That's the reason this page is here–to try to drum up a few hits and build an audience. (It's only kind of worth the effort, but it's better than nothing.) You don't ever have to visit the blog if you want to just enjoy the puns and the inspiration memes and whatever I find about writing that tickles my brain, but the snotty emails and whiny tears telling me that my page would be "so great if you just stopped all that self promotion" will be used to fuel my Genesis device.
Your tears keep me young. I'm actually 248
Reasonably moderate sized point- I'm up to fifty or so PM's a day. (Deplorably, none are million dollar contracts! I mean why did I even want to be a writer again?) Most are spam or asking me for some kind of free editing or beta reading or to share their own page something. So I don't even reply to the majority of them. My freelance/tutoring rate is $60USD/hr and TRUST ME that you don't want me doing copy editing (though I'm pretty good at content/developmental end). If your solicitation for help does not include some indication that you plan to pay me or do me a comparable service, I will simply ignore it. (I get way way way too many of those every day.)
Check out my Facebook FAQ, and you'll probably find the answer to your question. At least you'll find the answer to 95% of the PM's I get.
Also if you PM me, please keep in mind that I'm just a human being. I listen to the Encanto Soundtrack, watch Hawkeye with my family, play Fallout 4 and cuss when I stumble into an Alpha Deathclaw at 12th level, love Robert Asprin books despite myself, can't tell when someone's flirting with me (to. save. my. LIFE.), and try to write every day. I'm self conscious about how gaunt my face looks in some light after I lost a bunch of weight because of cancer, I cry when large swaths of my friends excuse torture so long as it is done to the "right sort of people," and have a really, really bad next-day if I eat too much pizza. Messages demanding I do X immediately or take down Y post because you didn't like it or "HOW COULD YOU..." will be cheerfully ignored. Add in some schoolyard shit talk to this kind of bullshit, and I will do my best Strong Bad "DELETED!" as I ban you.
Kind of slightly large point- As of this writing, I cannot (and in many cases will not) read the comments on this page.
There are OVER a million of you and one of me. (Well…sort of two. But usually it's only one of us at a time; my assistant only jumps in when I'm unable to.) I often max out the 99 notifications for this page in less than two or three minutes. I cannot POSSIBLY keep up with all the comments even if maintaining FB were my only job (it's not). Furthermore, what was once a playful community with the occasional legit jerkwad easily dealt with has become more and more like the bottom half of the internet (and all that that implies). I actually avoid the comments unless I suspect it's a post which will attract bigots and I need to do my banning thing. When half a million people are seeing something, the law of large numbers suggests that someone, somewhere read it wrong, is upset about something else, needs lunch and a nap, wants to pick a fight, or just generally is going to be a complete anal seepage dripping asshole about it. I know it's a statistically tiny amount, but the number of people confusing shitposting with clever makes me weep, and when people think that disagreeing with something they see automatically means they can behave in the worst way imaginable. I know you just came here to attack and now you're feeling such a good time, but I like parading through people's rain. Seriously though, enough people are really, really mean that it hurts my soul. It's honestly not good for my mental health to even try to read them all.
Which means three things pragmatically:
ONE: if someone is being a complete ass in the comments, send me a link through PM, and I'll decide what to do. (Ban them. Warn them. Rickroll them. Whatever.) But I miss 90+% of what's going on in the comments, so don't count on me to step in if you haven't notified me–I probably don't even know it's happening. Please send me a link so I know WHERE the problem is happening. I post several posts a day and sometimes the comments go on for a week or more, so I'll need help finding where to go.
TWO: I won't even see, and certainly won't reply to a lot of comments. I just can't. It hurts me in my tender fee-fees to try. I know some of you definitely are addressing the page admin with your comments, but you'll have to send me a PM if it's in some way urgent.
I've also ignored a lot of comments lately that either missed the point or clearly hadn't read the entire piece they were responding to. It's not personal; it's just a time thing. Read what you're responding to if you want me to take a comment seriously.
*Protip: demanding to know the answer to a question that is answered in the first paragraph of the post is generally a pretty good hint that you didn't do the reading.
Over the years, I have learned that (especially on the Internet) if you point out that someone clearly hasn't read something, they are more likely to attack than take the suggestion with some humility.
Also, if you really want me to reply, send a PM. Just remember that whole "human" thing if you tread that path or I will make 30-year-old pop culture references at you by saying, "You chose.......poorly."
THREE: I don't have time to gently warn everyone. ("Now now. There's a human being with feelings on the other end of your apoplectic abuse.") I'm assuming you already know how to be a decent person and that the internet sometimes helps you to forget. If I see bad faith behavior, I'll just start swinging the ol' Ban Hammer™Mjölnir [I call it M.J. cause we're THAT close.] You should know better than to behave that way (and you WOULD know better in any space that wasn't online). My warnings are reserved for folks who maybe didn't know they were on thin ice.
And they get exactly ONE.
Large point- This is my page. It's free content for you delivered straight to your computer on an average of 12 times a day (depending on the FB algorithm). This free content you enjoy takes me somewhere between 30 minutes to 90 minutes a day of unpaid labor. I'm going to post what I want. I'm going to post what I find fascinating. What I find interesting. What I find funny. What I find engaging.
And I'm going to post my blog. Even though it's sometimes a very thin connection to writing, delves into socio/political issues, or talks about my personal life.
I welcome suggestions. I welcome dialogue. I welcome discourse. I welcome concerns. I welcome criticism. (As I said above, you will likely have to PM me to get my attention since there are so many of you, but I still welcome this stuff.) I will be especially receptive to the concerns that something I've posted has inadvertently engaged in some sort of institutional harm.
However, if you comment (or PM for that matter) like you're entitled to have MY page be whatever you want in the same way you might scream at the Spokane McDonalds night shift manager because there isn't lobsterthermidor on the menu, I can promise you that the conversation will go one of two ways: If you're just being boorish and demanding without regard for the fact that I'm not a robot in a skin suit sent from Khyron Beta Prime to please your every whim, I'll ignore while singing old Starship songs. ("And we can BUIIIIIIIIIILD this dream together...") If you're being abusive, I'll ban you. There are OVER A MILLION of you. Even if I had an interest in keeping everyone happy, I couldn't.
And, shhhhhh, I don't have any interest in keeping all of you happy. Some of you status quo defenders I very much want to disturb. To say nothing of bigots.
So I'll be true to myself, and if that bothers you SO. FUCKING. MUCH. that you can't give the ol' scroll wheel finger a quick workout, then you get to talk to me like I'm a sensitive artist and shit. Because I am a delicate fucking creative flower, goddamnit! FUCK!
Add to an above demand a threat to flounce if I keep doing what you don't like, and I will just assume that I should show you the door to save myself future headaches.
If, on the other hand, you're just going to feel jilted if this page isn't exactly what you want to see all the time, you should feel absolutely free to spend the next five years posting 10-15 pieces of content every day about once an hour to build up your own audience, and then you can make that page whatever you want.
No promises that I won't stop by and complain though. Just for the symmetrical beauty of it all.
This goes just as well if I post a joke you don't "like." I care (deeply) if I've inadvertently dehumanized a group of people. I don't care that some didn't get the joke or didn't find it funny or it made fun of Christianity or something. If you don't stop to look up what a phrase meant before assuming bad faith, that's not my problem. And trying to guilt me by telling me there are children or second language learners who might take it seriously won't really get much traction either since children shouldn't be here and I'm not billing myself as an educational site. Learning to navigate a world in which some written rhetoric involves satire, irony, or sarcasm is part of the cost of business in English, and my job on this site isn't to act as those filters for others.
Again, if something bothers you that much, drop me a PM and let's chat. But remember the "catch." If you want to get a message back: you have to treat me like a human with feelings. Last I checked, the cybernetic brain overlay had yet to take.
Beyond Hella Huge Point (about social justice)-
Every goddamned time I post an article or meme or anything that deigns to intersect with how writing and writers affect social issues,
...or an interpretation of a work of art or entertainment that challenges the status quo, how language reflects societal prejudice,
...or how whitewashed, sexist, and anti-LGBT publishing is,
....or the narratives through which we define our world that could use scrutiny,
a new gaggle of jerkwads end up being shown the door.
Or hell, even just post a little Content Notice on something they think isn't a problem–so much so that it must be mocked.
It's not that they disagree. Disagreement I can handle. The comments all over this page are filled with disagreement–we're definitely no echo chamber. The problem is they either decide to react in the most dismissive and derisive way possible ("This is SJW crap!" "Ableism? That's insanely [r-word] you [c-word].") in which case this page is not for them, and I don't particularly want to have to deal with that shit post after post...OR they outright lose their composure and abusively attack other members or me for taking the time and energy to attempt to explain the frame of an issue or share a personal perspective on a topic.
If what essentially amounts to free tutoring about how language affects people who aren't exactly like you is going to be shat on because you wanted to "win" an argument, have the last word, condescend to the suggestion that the world is unequal and our print media might play a part in that, or treat people like crap for sharing an opinion that challenges the status quo, Writing About Writing is simply not for you.
There is a one-to-one echo that exists within this reaction that I am pretty sensitive to (mild CN for abuse dynamics): abusers gas lighting their victims. Instead of taking a moment to consider why someone is upset, that they are accurately able to assess their own mental state, that they can be trusted to relay when they are feeling hurt, or that their life experience of marginalization may be something worth listening to, often they are told they are being dramatic or ridiculous and dismissed outright. Their feelings and even their actual experiences are invalidated. We see this in a personal relationship and it raises our hackles (hopefully), but when a group in social power (like men) do it to a group they have social power over (like women or gender variant folks) on a massive scale, it is considered perfectly normal behavior. And it can even cause the people who are constantly being dismissed and derided to question their own perceptions of reality.
(I think abuse and oppression have a number of shocking parallels, but maybe a post for another time.)
Let me be blunt about this. (Cause I've been sweetly dancing around the point until now.)
Y'all are fucking writers, and this is a page about fucking writing. You fucking ought to know better than anyone that words carry tremendous fucking power...possibly even to invoke fucking harm. Nobody ever silently went to war or committed genocide without fucking words fueling them first. No one ever articulated a justification for racism or sexism that caused people actual PHYSICAL HARM without using fucking words to do so.
And nobody ever said "let's fucking commit human atrocities because we're just that evil" either. They always always ALWAYS fucking rationalized it away as necessary for their own protection....and they did so using fucking words. "Just" words.
So if you sit on your couch every November 5th watching a dude in a Guy Fawkes mask bloviate between the fight scenes that, "Words offer the means to meaning," and then starts a revolution because the "truth and perspectives" of his words are bulletproof, and then you imagine yourself leading said glorious revolution with your own martial arts skill and throwing stilettos, yet you then turn right around and roll your eyes at "those damned Social Justice Warriors" being all "oversensitive" to some slur you didn't mean "that way," you are DROWNING in the irony of social power dynamics and your own double standards.
I'm not going to have a conversation every single time I bring up an issue of social equality with folks whose main conceit seems to be: "writers should be able to write whatever they want." You already CAN write whatever you want. You can write your sausage fest story with no people of color and one woman who constantly needs rescuing, and ignore every bit of advice out there about how to make deep and interesting characters Literally no one will stop you. And if you're in a situation where you can't write whatever you want (politically or socially), it's certainly not upholding the status quo that is what you're not "allowed" to write. Further writers often do write whatever they want no matter how harmful or objectionable. Rarely are their careers even impacted and occasionally that's what launches them. If these writers stay off the pages that criticize them, they don't even have to have their feelings hurt. So if you're going to react with hyperbole and loss of composure to anyone asking you to consider how and what you write....on a blog about writing, Writing About Writing is definitely not for you.
But CENSORSHIP, Chris! But FREEZE PEACH!
Do you know what I hear Danny? Nothing. No footsteps up the stairs, no hovercraft outside the window, no clickeyty-click of the little spiders. Do you know why I can't hear those things Danny? Because right now, no one is stopping you from saying whatever you want. I'm not a government agent. This page isn't a public park. You have conflated freedom of speech with entitlement of medium.....Danny.
In case that was too subtle.
If you've mistaken a governmentally protected freedom with the absence of consequence, feel free to study up on both again. (But for ten bonus points, see if you can identify the irony in trying to silence criticism by invoking your "free speech" ad nauseum.) And your little guilt trip, complete with a high school comprehension of the word "Orwellian," is not going to prevent me from moderating comments in my own space. This isn't even a social justice activism page. I'm going pretty easy on you comparatively. I don't expect you to be fully intersectional (or even to know what "fully intersectional" means). But the cliche that “You are awful and hate free speech if you block or ban people” is regurgitated mostly by the same entitled dillholes who don't like it when people have boundaries....at all....ever....about anything. I have like eighteen jobs and NONE of them are listening to you patiently explain why people shouldn't be allowed to define their own realities and tell their own narratives.
If you want to drop some hateful commentary, share my article in your own space with commentary. Otherwise be ready to be shown the door.
Frankly, I'd rather have a smaller following where those who normally run screaming from the comments sections on most of the internet feel comfortable participating in the conversation, than a large following where the Status Quo Defenders speak over and run roughshod over anyone who has the temerity to suggest that maybe arts and humanities do something wacky like affect social perceptions, that representation matters, and that once in a while we might ought to think about such things. The whole damned world will let the people in power decide what is ridiculous to care about (spoiler: it's always going to be anything that challenges their power in any way). Here I want an actually diverse conversation, not just more and louder and more hostile dismissiveness reinforcing the status quo and actively silencing such voices.
I care about how to question whether narratives are reinforcing institutional harm. I care about how much of the writing that exists (even wildly popular writing) often reinforces harmful status quos like racism, sexism, heteronormativity, transphobia, and more–things are ingrained in many of our narrative tropes or through our lack of or type of representation. If you want me to be vapid about the impact of writing and stick to linguistic prescriptivism that makes fun of legitimate English dialects (often in a vaguely racist and definitely classist way) or those who struggle to get the right homonym, drops the same dozen articles (and their knock offs) over and over on how to publish your novel/find an agent/write a query letter, and never really asks you to think hard thoughts about how powerful writing is in creating the stories shape our culture, Writing About Writing is positively absolutely unequivocally not for you.
"Because maybe....JUST MAYBE, arts and humanities affect social perceptions and that's worth examining once in a while..."
If we can't at least consider and think about these things, we're just telling the same stories over and over again, not really exploring new ones.
In case that little Rantsalot moment was too gentle or esoteric: If your reply is nothing more than "This is PC bullshit!" or "This is crap. You're the real sexist!" or "Shut the fuck up with this pandering crap!" (or any of the thousands of variations on this theme that is intended to silence through dismissal that I've heard over the years) and certainly if you use bigoted slurs or double down on your "right" to be sexist, misogynistic, racist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, or fatphobic after you've been asked to stop, I will use my admin tools to show you the door*.
Don't worry. The other million of us will carry on without you.
You don't have to agree with me. You DO have to play nice in my playground.
Me and M.J. hitting the town. Get it? "HITTING" the town...never mind.
*Once upon a time when I was getting such comments once a month, and before loved ones had cancer and before I had cancer and before there were kids in the picture and before I needed to write a novel four years ago, I had the time to warn and explain the problem gently with each person in an exhausting choreographed dance (that lead to a banning or a flounce 99% of the time anyway); however, I do not have the time or energy to continue to do this. I will simply protect this community from harm and/or that status quo defender bullshit. ADDITIONAL INFO The Just Not Worth It Clause You are in my space. (You are not entitled to be here.) You are generally welcome as long as you refrain from a few choice behaviors (see above). However, I am under no obligation to extend infinitely my hospitality to those who are constant sources of negative energy and make my work unpleasant so long as you technically don't break the rules. It might take a while for me to recognize your name, longer still to watch you for a while, and even longer to decide what to do, but if you are constantly argumentative, unpleasant, bellicose, condescending, and generally negative, I will eventually show you the door. Because this is my space, and it's just not worth it to me to have to put up with that on post after post. And if you're firmly and often representing yourself as unwilling to understand issues such as systemic inequality, the scripts of oppression, the difference between bigotry and pointing entitlement culture, or things like that, I may eventually decide that my space is not for you. Guest posts: I'll leave up anything (even if I don't fully understand it) unless it is to a commercial site or it is self-promotion. The former will be removed and the poster banned. The latter will be removed (and if it keeps happening the poster will be banned). If you want to promote something on my page, message me. Whether or not I say yes will depend on how much it has to do with writing. Basically I'm not going to let people spam my readers.
Pedantry: Knock yourself out, (lord knows I could use the help) but keep in mind the other rules before you decide that what your grammar fix needs is to be slathered in the gravy of bumptious superiority. I'll fix it if I can. The more obnoxious and condescending you get about it, though, the more I'm going to look at that ban button like Sylvester looks at Tweety. And if you are being classist and racist by mocking a legitimate dialect of English or a second language learner or something, Tweety's not long for the world. Links in comments: If they're not absolutely relevant to the topic or are clearly self promotional, I'll erase the comment. If it keeps happening I'll swing The Ban Hammer™Also, just so you know, I kind of hate people who respond to my writing about a topic with someone else's writing about the same topic. Like I know it's petty, but I'm here to promote my OWN shit, not someone else's.
Bot Commenting: The engagement is appreciated, but the generic reply-to-anything comment will eventually get you banned.
Trolling Comments to Hit on Folks:
I ban anyone who trolls the comments hitting on femme presenting folks. No questions. No appeals. You will be shown the door. This is not the space for that and I want those folks to feel safe commenting here, not as if doing so is going to open them up to being oozed.
(And just to anticipate a possible social script designed to protect this sort of behavior, if you can't tell the difference between genuinely striking up a conversation that MIGHT end up in a "Hey would you be okay with a friend request?" and the behavior I'm talking about [usually appearance based, usually IMMEDIATELY focused on a friend request, almost always cut and pasted to multiple people], then you shouldn't be doing either.)
Post Attribution: I get macros from all over the intersphereweboverse. Pinterest. Other pages. Friends share things they find with me. Old posts. Even Tumblr. The internet is like that with people posting and reposting. Original attribution can be incredibly hard to find after things have been through multiple layers of reposting (even with things like reverse search images, which even if they always worked [they don't] add enough annoyance and time sink to an already thankless labor of love to make it not worth it). Plus many artists are happy to see their work proliferated just so long as it has their watermark on it.
As a content creator myself though, I know how much it sucks to watch something you made go viral for someone else without so much as a link or even attribution. If I've posted something that belongs to you or someone you know or have posted a webcomic with a watermark that you can't bear to see not linked with a URL, let me know and I'll edit the post.
Or if it's yours and you want me to just take it down, repost with attribution, or whatever to handle the situation. Unfortunately, there are some people will try to claim credit for something they didn't make, even editing out an existing watermark, so I'll be looking for some small indication of actual source-age. (Usually that's a trivial matter for a content creator of linking the original post.)
I am happy to do this. But please remember a couple of things: First, you need to message me (rather than just comment) if you definitely want me to see it because I don't reliably engage with comments (see above). Second, be kind. There are basically a million of you and one of me and I am putting up 15 posts a day, so what seems like a trivial effort to you on a single post may not be to me, especially over time. If you want to be the attribution police rather than just a friendly "Hey I found a source on that post for you!" feel free to go run your own page and find out what a headache it can be.
Responding to Posts (Especially Answering Mailbox Questions) Without Reading the Article Listen....
This one gets like four and a half stars.
I am a flawed, frail human being.
One of my human failings is that even though I understand the FB algorithm and how engagement helps, it really annoys me when I post something I spent an hour (or two or three or five or EIGHT or MORE) writing, and people jump into the comments to take it upon themselves to read answer the question CLEARLY without having read the article. It just irritates the fuck out of me.
It's like reading your own shit at another author's Q&A. It's like using your "question" at a convention to talk for five minutes and then say, "Do you agree?" to a panelist. I'm glad you found the question provocative (I really am!), but JOIN the conversation. Don't start a new one of your own in MY comments. Sometimes these replies don't even realize they're suggesting exactly the same thing I did or have used one or two of the same examples. It's great that we're all on the same page, but how rude! It's like those cartoons where someone suggests something and then another character says the same thing. In the world of comments at the end of posts, you usually at least see people who have engaged with the article (sometimes they clearly didn't get past a certain point before commenting, didn't understand a part, or were reading in bad faith, but you generally don't get replies that disregard the source material whole cloth. Social media means an awful lot of people jump in to tell you what they think of the title and/or preview text. Knock yourself out (I guess), but be ready for your admin to hide or delete your comment.
You need to start your own blog for this shit If you want to reply to something, enjoy. If you want to disagree with me, have fun. (Just remember all the other rules.) However, if you want to write some shit that is seriously longer than the post you're replying to, go find your own platform. And if it's just some "take down" shit (especially of the I-didn't-manage-to-finish-reading-this-or-read-it-carefully-before-I-got-angry-and-slammed-out-many-paragraphs) variety, I'm probably just going to hide it. It's an admin power that pages have. You and your friends will be able to see it and give each other high fives, but no one else will. Arguing with "You should be writing" macros: Uh...whatever cooks your churro, boss. You do you.
However, let me add a couple of things: as I dig through the depths of the internet for and/or create such memes that aren't a profusion of sparkling hot white guys, keep the bigoted slurs out of your polemics if you don't want to get banned. You can yell at macros reminding you to write (or whatever) like old man yelling at cloud if that's your jam, but bigotry is no more acceptable as a reply to a You Should Be Writing macro than anywhere else in this space.
Second, I have a folder full of people thanking me. Literally hundreds, maybe thousands of messages basically saying that the daily reminders were wonderful for their motivation. I'm not going to stop because your complaints get more and more hyperbolic, but I will eventually assume that my page is not for you.
Arguing with other macros or posts: If you have a significant ideological problem with a quote or an idea or post, I first invite you to sit with it and think about what insight it might offer. Not everything is about you. It might not be saying what you think it is. Have you read it in the best faith or are you running it through an ideological lens and assuming that I'm saying something maybe I'm not? I post things regularly that are mutually exclusive because sometimes they're for beginners, sometimes for veterans, sometimes for people who are prescriptive about language, sometimes about people who think they don't actually need to learn grammar, sometimes for cocksure folks who won't suffer an editor, and sometimes for those who need a little pick me up to their confidence. Some things are for people who want to be capital W writers and need to stop making excuses. Some are for people with executive dysfunction who need to be kinder to themselves about what they can and can't do. If you can glean a point, a conceit, or a thesis that might be valuable to some writer SOMEWHERE, maybe it isn't quite so important that you kick in the doors, knock over a vase, and make sure everyone upstairs can hear you screaming that you don't absolutely love it.
Far be it from me to suggest that a single 280 character tweet is going to contain all the nuance or that a prescriptive tumblr post has advice that you won't be able to imagine an exception to, but if you can find something interesting, useful, or edifying to your writing, that's probably why I posted it.
Okay, you've had a deep breath or three and you still don't like it? It's okay to let people know you're doing the opposite of endorsing the message or that you see a glaring gap in context, bring the nuance! I welcome it. However, reading clinging to a worst faith read, assuming that any advice is panacea and that you are entitled to tear into it, the poster, anyone who agrees, or ME using the most hostile and hyperbolic language you can come up with because that's how the internet works will not go well for you. Not here. Save that shit for Reddit.
I posted a thing you REALLY disagree with: I post things I don't even agree with myself. (Not harmful things, but stuff about craft or process.) Not every writer is going to agree on every way to be a writer--beyond reading and writing a lot. Go ahead and disagree, but if you get into that "How ever could you POST shit like this?" territory, it might be a short conversation. Poll Nominations: If you don't go to the blog webpage and make your nomination a comment, it won't end up on the poll. If you don't go to the blog webpage and make your nomination a comment, it won't end up on the poll.IF YOU DON'T GO TO THE BLOG WEBPAGE AND MAKE YOUR NOMINATION A COMMENT, IT WON'T END UP ON THE POLL!
How can your poll possibly not have [thing I like]? Because no one nominated it? Or no one gave it a second? Or they did and it did not survive an earlier round? Everything is reader based. If you want to see your titles make it, get involved sooner.
J.A.Q.ing off You might think I can't tell the difference between asking questions and "just asking questions" about something but it's actually breathtakingly easy. (Particularly when combined with "It's really obvious that you haven't actually read that.") So understand that after thirty years of being online and 15 years of teaching, I know the difference between a sincere question and bait when I see it.
You're so Clever: One of the double edged swords of a community this large is that there is often a "race" to be the first to make a clever quip with almost every post. No problem when they're funny, but sometimes people mistake clever and mean. If the timber of these quips seems always to be discouraging or elitist (or some other variant of shitty), you may eventually find MJ thirsts to revoke your commenting privileges.
Shitty comments: One of my admin powers as a page runner is to hide a comment so that only the person who made it and their friends can see it. I use this liberally when people are just being general jerkwads. You can cry your maudlin tears about free speech or whatever, but I make no bones about moderating the comments in my own space. If you don't have the decorum to treat your unpaid host with a tiny bit of decency, he doesn't have to suffer giving you a platform by proxy.
I only ban people if they're being bigots or extremely harmful. (It's always particularly funny to watch people who say "Watch, now we'll get banned because we disagreed," go right on commenting about how I censor them.) If you imagine that you are seated around a table with everyone you're talking sipping a tasty beverage of your choice and being watched by a group of students taking a class on how to discuss issues like adults, you will probably do just fine.
If you're enjoying this blog, and would like to see more, the writer is a guy with a rent and insurance to pay who would love to spend more time writing. Please consider contributing to My Patreon. As little as $36 a year (about the price of a fancy coffee per month) will get you in on backchannel conversations, patron-only polls, and my special ear when I ask for advice about future projects or blog changes.